June 24th 2013:A press release we received 3 weeks ago from the Nasty camp, for immediate release: (oops)
BRAND ON THE RUN!
“Those songs are mine – I wrote them! Why can’t we just go out and sing them?” complains Neil Innes, aka Ron Nasty of The Rutles.
“Maybe we could call it “Rutalot”, suggests John Halsey, aka Barry Wom, the “noisy one” of the so-called Pre-Fab Four.
It all began 35 years ago when Eric Idle of Monty Python persuaded Neil Innes, of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, to join him in a comedy series for BBC 2 called Rutland Weekend Television - all about a spoof TV station, the smallest in Britain, churning out really cheap programmes on a shoestring. Low budget? More like No Budget!
Innes suggested to Idle that they could do a send-up of A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles first movie. “It’s in Black and White, it’s speeded up, and we could wear wigs and tight trousers and run around a field somewhere…”
That’s great!” exclaimed Idle. “I’ve got a sketch about a man making a documentary who’s so boring, the camera runs away from him…”
And so the name “Rutles” was born. But no one could have expected what happened next. A year later, such was the enormous pressure on the Beatles to get back together again, the one-off clip was shown in the USA – on NBC’s flagship satire programme: “Saturday Night Live”.
It was a sensation. Thousands of people wrote in. Mailbags were bulging. Everyone got the joke. Lorne Michaels, the producer, believed the whole Beatles story could now be told – as “The Rutles”. NBC agreed and gave him the money.
Eric Idle quickly came up with the title: “All You Need Is Cash – the story of the Pre-Fab Four”. Bill Murray, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd got involved – so did George Harrison, who brought in Mick Jagger and Paul Simon.
Innes recalls: “I can clearly remember it all. I was sitting to one side, on a window sill in an executive office, high up in the Rockefeller Centre in New York, listening to all this when suddenly everyone started looking at me. Lorne asked if I could write 20 more Rutle songs by next Thursday lunchtime. I said I would try!”
“Last time was just the last time. This time it really is the last time.”
A second album, “Archaeology”, with Mickey Simmonds (Keyboards) and “Rutle” Ricky Fataar (Stig O Hara) on drums, was released in 1996 - to even greater acclaim. Planned to coincide with the Beatles “Anthology” – by public demand – new songs like “Questionnaire” and “Don’t Know Why” were more thoughtful and less of a parody - or as George Harrison sweetly put it - “all part of the soup”.
About 10 years ago, Neil, John and Mickey teamed up with Mark Griffiths on Bass and Ken Thornton on lead guitar, (Ken can almost replace the irreplaceable Ollie Halsall!) and played the Rutle songs live, in front of teabag throwing millions, in village halls and at weddings, oh yes, and Glastonbury.
“It’s not a career move,” explains Innes, “but somehow or other, over the years, we have become a “Brand” - and that makes some people very proprietorial.”
“Pro what?” demands the man who was Barry Wom.
“Proprietor. You know - owner? Legal owner?” says Nasty the adjective.
“Oh. I’ll keep quiet then.”
“No, no – you can still hit the drums…”
COMING TO A CAVERN NEAR YOU!
“Making Rutle music is supposed to be fun, it IS fun - but someone usually goes and spoils it all by saying something stupid like you can’t do this or you can’t say that and by laying down the law.”
Innes continues with his beef, “with any luck by the time they get round to suing us we’ll have disbanded!”
“Why don’t we just call it “Rutalot?” mutters the Noisy One…
NEIL JOHN MICKEY MARK and KEN
THE ARTISTES INFORMALLY KNOWN AS
WILL BE APPEARING AS THEMSELVES AT:
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27 EDINBURGH LIQUID ROOMS
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